Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cold Fall day

We haven't had much fall foliage color yet. The 26 inch rain we got from Tropical Storm Faye in late August seemed to have affected the Dogwoods. The leaves all dropped off of ours, right after the rain. The other tree that does well here in the fall is the Bradford Pears. They are just starting to turn colors and should be pretty in a week or so.

We had a cold night, according to the news 26 degrees. We had a good hard freeze. Al covered our newly planted citrus trees and he winterized the RV. We filled up the bird feeders and have our usual winter visitors the Chipping Sparrows and the Gold Finches.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Helping the Economy

My laptop computer's cover broke. The computerf was fine but the hinge on the cover broke and it won't stay open. I could have rigged to stay open, but I got the new computer bug.

We headed to Tallahassee and to Office Depot and Best Buy. I had concerns with the new Vista operating system but was reassured Vista was okay since they had the updates, and since Microsoft has declared it the system we will use.

We ended up with a Toshiba. It has a 17" monitor and also has a numeric keypad which I really liked. We got the computer home and I found it pretty easy to get going. It automatically picked up my home Wi-Fi settings. I installed a few of my photo programs like Jacs, but was unable to install my Roxio easy CD creator. It looks like it is not supported by Vista.

One thing I noticed about this laptop is that it gets heavy on your lap after a while. It weighs less than 7 pounds but the extra weight was a little bothersome. I would probably have chosen a smaller one if I had known that. I guess I'll have to make due.

Al's 60th birthday is Wednesday so we decided to hang around and fix a nice dinner here. It's a little cool out, about 55 I think, so a good day to stay in. We will have a steak dinner with lobster, baked potatoes, salad and peach cobbler. I am trying the recipe I got from Linda Payne off their RV-Dreams website. It looks good.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tornado Warning

Al was in Tampa last night doing his Pest Control business, so I was home alone. It had been raining off and on all day while I was at work and I thought the worst was over. Suddenly the weather radio alerted me that we were in a tornado watch and then we went into a warning. We just bought this weather radio after having several from Radio Shack that wouldn't work more than a few weeks. After 5-6 radios failing we returned the last one, got our money back and bought one from Oregon Scientific It is model #WR601. It has worked like a charm and even worked in the shelter. It alerts you when severe weather is approaching and you can always listen to NOAA weather reports. Sometimes during storms you have no electric for TV or internet. Our local TV stations are very BAD about keeping us informed on severe weather. They are great as long as the weather comes during their normal hours. However, if it storms after the 6pm news or before the 11 pm news, you are on your own. If if happens in the middle of the night..forget it! It wasn't like that in Tampa. This weather radio is a must have. Our local Emergency management does make phone calls to alert you of tornados but the weather radio is the best bet. Ours was around $50.

I am very nervous about tornadoes and we purchased a storm shelter last year. We bought it from Storm Shelters of Northwest Florida which is our of Chipley, Florida. It is a pain to have to get into it as I was comfy, and didn't want to go out into the rain. After reviewing the path of the severe weather I took my cat squeaky and we went into the shelter. There seems to be a red ant colony right around the entrance...will have to get Al to work on that. We had not ever had to use it before so this was the first. I discovered the cell phone worked and that the weather radio even worked provided I put it in the right location on the stairs. That was comfortating. We will have to keep a few more things there, like something to read as it gets boring and a porta potti! I stayed down there about 45 minutes. There were some freaky noises which I believe were coming from the air vents. It sounded creepy when the lightning hit but we didn't seem to have much wind. Here are a couple of photographs of the shelter before and after installation. It is larger than it looks. We can actually stand up inside.

The shelter was expensive and we had a hard time justifying the cost but tornadoes seem to be more frequent here in south Georgia than they were in Florida. Last year, especially in the spring every front that would move through brought tornado warnings. We actually had one touch down a few miles from our home. We decided it was worth the peace of mind to have it, and last night I was glad I did. This morning the news reports say there were tornadoes in North Carolina with 2 fatalities so far. Glad to have our "Hidey-Hole"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whooping Cranes

Operation Migration is a wonderful program I have been following for years that is attempting to reintroduce endangered Whooping Cranes back into the eastern United States.

Eggs are incubated, hatched and raised completely by people dressed up as adult birds. The birds could be released into the wild but would not migrate without any parents to teach them to do so. This program attempts to teach them to migrate.

They use an ultralight airplane and train the birds to follow it.They start in Wisconsin and head to central Florida for the winter. The journey is a lengthy one. They are currently in Winnebago, IL.

I noticed that this year they are taking a more westerly route which would have them come almost right over our property. I sent an email inviting them to stopover here if they needed to. We have over 11 acres and would certainly welcome the birds and the crew for as long as they needed to stay. I got quite a surprise when I got an answer back asking for our actual address so they could check out our location and terrain. What a treat it would be if they were to stop here!

I will check our GPS tomorrow and get our latitude and longitude coordinates. It would certainly be exciting.

This a teriffic program and a very interesting website. Check out the photographs of the beautiful Whooping Cranes in flight.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beautiful Fall Day

Al is getting ready to go back to Tampa tomorrow to do his Pest Control. He still has Arrest A Pest Exterminators. He is also starting Buzz-Off Pest Control in Georgia. We will continue to go back and forth for a while since the economy is not doing well.

We have many Pecan trees on our property. Al babied about 3 of them all year, with extra water and fertilizer and he even raked up all the leaves, but we still have the Scab that effected our Pecans. We had a lot of them on the tree but they turned black and fell off. We rode the the golf cart over to the neighbor and he had some nice large (and tasty) pecans from his trees. I know he didn't give them any care. We don't know what happens with ours but this is the 2nd fall we have had no pecans.

We pulled up the Wisteria bush/tree,that had fallen after Tropical Storm Fay dropped 26 inches of rain in 3 days. It is our favorite and was absolutely gorgeous the first year we came up and bought the place. It was a good part of why I fell in love with the property. It was grown to be like a tree with many branches coming up to an umbrella shape. It was covered with purple blooms that were so fragrant. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. We got it back up and Al has put a brace in to keep it up. I don't think it will die but am not so sure it will ever have the same shape. We'll see.

The Chipping Sparrows are back in mass. They come for the winter, eat us out of house and home and then leave. They usually arrive with the Gold Finches. I haven't seen the Gold Finches yet. They do not have the pretty gold color this time of year. They usually are just starting to get pretty when they leave us in the spring. That doesn't seem fair.

I am going to make some suet for the birds tomorrow. They really love it. The recipe I use is:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups cornmeal
1 cup white flour

mix well
you can put some out and the rest in the refrigerator

You can either use a suet feeder or just mash some into holes in the trees. They will find it.

We haven't planted a fall garden yet. We just haven't seemed to find the time. We did spread some compost on our upper garden and some of the blueberries. We may try to plant some broccoli, collards and English Peas. I do have an Earth Box on the back porch. I have basil, rosemary, spinach and some merlot lettuce. I probably have too much planted in that one box.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Birdsong Nature Center

We attended a program today on beekeeping.It was held at the Birdsong Nature Center and put on by a local beekeeping club. Al has been interested in this hobby but didnt' know where to start.There were several speakers who talked on how to get started and some of their experiences. They brought a lot of literature, equipment, some live honeybees, and even some honey to sample. It was quite informative and we are thinking we may give it a try. We need to do a little more research. The beekeepers club is the Apalachee Beekeepers.

Bidsong Nature center is a wonderful place for any bird and nature lover. They have 565 acres and 12 miles of mowed hiking trails. There is a old house that has a wonderful bird room. It has a huge window that looks out to the birdfeeding area. There are always a lot of birds fluttering around in the feeders or in the large rock that is a bird bath with a misting feature they really seem to love. They have couches for your comfort and even provide binoculars and a logbook where you write down the types of birds you saw that day. It is a great place to just sit back and watch birds, or to take photographs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall 2008

It is November 3rd, a day before the elections,and we are very worried about the outcome.

We have had a busy year and have neglected to post anything.

We have had some luck with our Blue Birds. Al put up 3 houses for them. We had 2 families and they each had 3 nests. We were having good luck with the family down by the pasture, they would come to us for meal worms and were more friendly then the family by the house. During late August we had Tropical Storm Fay come through. We got 26 inches of rain in 3 DAYS! We didn't get much wind or lightning, but it just kept raining and raining. Our pond filled up and flowed down into the creek. It washed away a lot of our rocks on the driveway. Our poor birds were miserable. Many of them took refuge under our front porch roof. We put food on the porch for them. Mostly these were the House Finches. We did have one poor soaking wet Blue Bird that didn't seem to get along with the others. He had to find shelter off on his own and then kept flying off every few minutes. He never seemed to dry out. After the storm we found one dead Blue Bird. We don't know if it was the same one or not. A few days after the storm Al noticed we didn't seem to have any Blue Birds. I checked with a friend who monitors them closely and she told me after they nest they take a "vacation" and they find homes for the "kids." Sure enough our House Blue Birds came back with only 2-3 children. They made a few vacations and now have come back with just the 2 of them. I guess they found suitable housing for all the kids. The pasture family came back about 2 weeks ago with many of the family. We were sure it was the same ones because they acted just like normal, they checked out both of their houses and their Mimosa Tree and demanded mealworms. The next day they were all gone and we haven't seen them since. ????

Our Nancy's (Carolina Wrens) have been busy all summer. They hadn't been spending the night in our flower baskets but now that it's cool again they are back. We have to stay off the front porch after dusk to keep them happy. Al made the mistake of walking on the porch one night after bedtime and got scolded!

We had our first frost on October 27th. We were gone camping at Florida Caverns State park and it got down to 41 the first night and 31 then next. For most of last week we woke up to frost on the yard.

Went to Sam's Club and bought 200 Daffodil bulbs. They were so pretty last year and were about the only bulb I planted that I had success with.